Fun and Frugal FAMILY Gift Ideas (that you can DIY)

Giving gifts that the whole family can enjoy– as opposed to individual gifts to each person in the family– is a great way to save money and simplify Christmas time.  Who doesn’t want that?!

Plus, Family gifts can be lots of fun and really bring the family together.  I’m excited to share with you some super fun ideas today!!

We’re on Day #5 of our Frugal Festivities: 25 Days of Christmas Cheer on a Budget.  If you’ve missed any of the other days, you can see them all here.

If you would rather watch/listen to today’s Frugal Festivities episode, you can watch it below, otherwise keep scrolling down for today’s frugal Christmas ideas!

I’m going to divide the frugal family gift ideas into two posts.  Today, for Frugal Festivities Day #5, I’ll share ones you can put together yourself DIY-style.  Then tomorrow (for Frugal Festivities Day #6) I’ll share some great family gifts for families that you can simply buy (in other words, they require zero DIY skills or extra time).

DIY Gifts for the Whole Family to Enjoy

If you have the time and energy to put a little creativity into your family gift, here are some ideas of gifts you can easily put together with a little effort.

Ice Cream Sundae Kit Family Gift

My kids were super excited when they saw me putting together this one.  “Don’t you need to take pictures showing your blog readers how a family would enjoy this one?” they asked, eager to dig in!

But seriously, what family wouldn’t love an excuse to have an ice cream sundae night?  With everything but the ice cream included (and you could include ice cream depending on how you were giving the gift, it just wouldn’t work well sitting under the tree or going through the mail).

What to include:

The sky’s the limit here, but I’ll give you some ideas of what to include:

    • Ice cream dishes— could be disposable or reusable
    • Ice cream scoop— not necessary, but a fun addition
    • Cones— sometimes it’s fun to have a cone on top of your sundae
    • Sauces— jars or bottles of caramel, butterscotch, chocolate and/or hot fudge topping
    • Nuts
    • Candies— M&Ms, gummy bears, Nerds, etc.
    • Sprinkles
    • Cookie crumbs

Money-saving tips:

The nuts and candies don’t need to be packaged/marketed as ice cream toppings.  You’ll save money by buying in regular packages or in bulk (if you’re preparing kits for several families), then dividing them into your own zip-top bags, recycled glass containers, or small lidded plastic containers from the dollar store.

The dollar store is a great place to find an ice cream scoop and ice cream bowls (both reusable and disposable).  The thrift store is another great place to look to find a set of nice reusable ice cream bowls.

Movie Night Family Fun Kit

Snuggling in to watch a family movie together is a fun activity that everyone can enjoy.  Having popcorn and candy to go with it makes it even more exciting!

Choose a couple of classic movies or a new release that you think the family you’re gifting to would love and you’re set!  This is a quick one to put together.

What to include:

    • Family classic movie(s)
    • Microwave popcorn
    • Theater boxes of candy
    • Individual paper popcorn bags

Money-saving tips:

Instead of buying an expensive new release, dig through the bins of movies at Walmart or another big box store where movies are $2-5 and choose a couple of classics that you think the family would enjoy.

You can find individual popcorn bags at the dollar store.  You can also sometimes find a giant plastic popcorn container at the dollar store which would be great to be your gift “basket.”

Family Painting Night Kit

Doing a painting tutorial together as a family is a ton of fun!  We’ve had lots of success doing watercolor painting with our kids of all ages. And it’s a fun challenge for the adults too! We love the tutorials at Let’s Make Art, which are fun and family friendly.  You can watch them free on YouTube.

You can use this idea as a springboard for other fun art kits.  You can find all sorts of free tutorials online that you can direct the family to in the card that goes with the gift basket.  You could do acrylic (Bob Ross anyone?), pencil drawing, or any other art medium!

What to include:

    • Pad of watercolor paper— We have tried several different pads of watercolor paper and this was our favorite.
    • Set of water color paints— In the videos they use liquid watercolor paint, but we have done just fine with the tubes of paint that we dilute with water.  These are the same ones we have been using.
    • Basic brushes— This set has 6 sets of ten brushes of various sizes.  That way when the teacher says specifically to use the round 2 or the round 6 brush, every member of the family has his or her own.

Money-saving tips:

Since you’re gifting to people who aren’t artists, just people who would have fun dipping their toes in the water, you don’t need to buy premiere artist quality when it comes to supplies.  That being said, you want to make sure you aren’t buying junk either.

My best advice is to read the reviews on Amazon and choose something that the majority of people were pleased with.  The super critical reviews on art supplies are usually from professionals who are accustomed to top quality products, not entry-level, get-your-feet-wet products.

Other Ideas for Family Gift Baskets

These three specific ideas should get your wheels spinning.  You can probably come up with all sorts of family gift baskets and kits for a fun treat or activity.  Use your imagination.  The sky’s the limit!

You could make

  • a cookie decorating kit
  • a gingerbread house making kit
  • a game night kit.

Get creative! Thank about activities that you enjoy doing with your family and think about how you could “package up” that activity to share with another family.

I would love to hear what family gifts you have given or received.  Please share your ideas in the comments!  What would be an ideal family gift for YOUR family?


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